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Attorney general, state’s attorney file writ of mandamus on Van Dyke prison sentence

Monday, Feb 11, 2019

* This is huge…

Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon today filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Illinois Supreme Court challenging the legality of former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke’s prison sentence.

The mandamus petition challenges the prison sentence issued Jan. 18 by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Gaughan following Van Dyke’s conviction for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke to 81 months in prison based on his conviction for second degree murder and not the more serious charges of 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

Raoul and McMahon, the special prosecutor who tried the case against Van Dyke, will work collaboratively in asking the Supreme Court to review whether the sentence was proper under the law. In their filing, Raoul and McMahon asked the court to direct Judge Gaughan to vacate Van Dyke’s sentence for second degree murder, impose a sentence on each of the 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, and determine which of the aggravated battery with a firearm convictions involved “severe bodily injury” warranting consecutive sentences.

“After conducting a thorough review of the record in this case and the law, and in consultation with the special prosecutor, I determined that a mandamus action must be pursued in the Illinois Supreme Court,” Raoul said. “I appreciate the work done by the Kane County State’s Attorney throughout this case, and my office will continue to work with his as we seek the Supreme Court’s review.”

“It is important that a police officer was held accountable for criminal conduct,” said McMahon. “But we argued at the sentencing hearing that Jason Van Dyke should be sentenced for the aggravated battery with a firearm convictions. The ability for the prosecution to challenge a sentence is very narrow, but this might be one of those situations.”

If the petition is accepted by the court, Van Dyke’s attorneys will have seven days to file an objection, unless the court sets a different deadline. There is no timeframe for the court to rule on whether it will accept the petition and consider it.

…Adding… The writ is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

25 Comments
  1. - Red Ketcher - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    “Huge” and the right thing to do. Commend them for acting.


  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Big heat on the Supremes.


  3. - 47th Ward - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    Good. Kudos to the AG and McMahon. Thankless but necessary.


  4. - Chris Widger - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    ==Thankless but necessary.==

    What? They will receive lots of kudos for this–they even already have in this comments section.


  5. - 47th Ward - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    ===they even already have in this comments section.===

    Probably on FB too. But since McMahon still has to work with police every day, maybe not so much around the office. Or on Second City Cop.

    The simple fact is, this extraordinary action should never have been needed.


  6. - Jack O’Sullivan - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:27 am:

    Who bought the Big Marijuana ad from the last thread? It fails to mention the THC levels only reach the 99% threshold in thc oil (not flower) and fails to mention the candies are branded as edibles (again not flower). Regulators can also impose advertising restrictions when they write the new law. Whoever wrote it doesn’t really understand marijuana or the eventual legislative process surrounding it.


  7. - Chris Widger - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    ==Probably on FB too. But since McMahon still has to work with police every day, maybe not so much around the office. Or on Second City Cop.==

    That’s fair, vis-a-vis McMahon.


  8. - the Edge - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    After having worked with coppers for 25 years I truly feel the majority of them do indeed feel Van Dyke went too far. This filing was necessary to protect the majority of the cops, who are decent understanding individuals. Van Dyke demonstrated he wasn’t.


  9. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    Finding great bodily injury that requires consecutive sentences is going to be a huge deal


  10. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    Can you ask the AG’s Office to release the actual petition? I do not think it is available on the Supreme Court website.


  11. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:42 am:

    –What? They will receive lots of kudos for this––

    That will hardly be a universal reaction. You’ve never come across people who thought Van Dyke should not have been charged?


  12. - Fax Machine - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:58 am:

    If the AG is going to be a prosecutor then doesn’t that mean all the people who were saying the AG can’t go after corruption were wrong?


  13. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    ===If the AG is going to be a prosecutor===

    This isn’t new. AG Madigan filed three of these writs last year alone.


  14. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 12:11 pm:

    Yes, so next time someone stabs someone to death and is convicted of second degree murder, we will need them sentenced for each stab wound.

    Makes a lot of sense.


  15. - Real - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 12:17 pm:

    Well can you find any case where someone stabbed another person to death and only received 6 years?


  16. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 12:22 pm:

    The statute for 2nd degree murder recommends probation. The prosecution asked for 18. 6 may have been on the light side, but is well within reason.


  17. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    I am still skeptical that Lee is as open and shut as people seem to regard it. Lee was sentenced to more time on the aggravated battery than the second decree murder, which may have made the aggravated battery the more serious offense.

    I think it is interesting that the second part of the petition faults Judge Gaughen for not imposing any sentence on the aggravated battery. I could see the State winning on that issue — that Judge Gaughen had to impose some sentence for the aggravated battery. But then Judge Gaughen may impose a sentence on the aggravated battery of 70 months and try to claim that the second degree murder sentence is more serious because 81 > 70.


  18. - Bigtwich - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===If the AG is going to be a prosecutor===

    Illinois law provides it is the duty of the Attorney General “To appear for and represent the people of the State before the supreme court in all cases in which the State or the people of the State are interested.”


  19. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    I do think the Supreme Court justices need to sort out the law.

    I also think we need to rethink our methods of treating those convicted. As I understand it we incarcerate to protect citizens from dangerous people and to rehabilitate those convicted. Vengeance is not supposed to be part of the process.

    I do not see how jailing Van Dyke protects citizens or rehabilitates him.


  20. - theCardinal - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:36 pm:

    So is this a filing to say the Judge acted inappropriately in his ruling ? Don’t professs to be a lawyer but he was tried, adjudicted and sentenced in a court of law.


  21. - Keyrock - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    Last Bull Moose - there are other factors in sentencing, including specific deterrence of the person convicted, general deterrence of others, and retribution (not vengeance) to respect the seriousness of the crime. A sentencing judge needs to balance all those factors in each case (as well as rehabilitation and danger to society).


  22. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 1:46 pm:

    ===If the AG is going to be a prosecutor===

    And there’s a big difference between saying a judge blew the sentence in a criminal case and prosecuting public corruption. But stick to your talking points if that’s what matters to you.


  23. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    Thanks Keyrock. I think 6 years sends a message of deterrence. More than that seems like a waste of resources.

    But the law may read differently.


  24. - Rich Miller - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    ===I think 6 years sends a message of deterrence===

    lol

    He’s out in 3.


  25. - Huh? - Monday, Feb 11, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    “He’s out in 3.”

    And in some circles, hailed as a martyr.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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